This is how I see the order of technology advancement in 40K (and Sciror). Each level of tech building on the last, with speculative breakthroughs, and incorporating the flavour of the setting. It’s how all the technologies link together, of all the species of 40K, and how that technology integrates with a setting that includes extra-science (the warp) and the knock on phenomena of psi-powers.
This follows on from my cogitator page;
Below is the technology line I used to describe mundane technology.
Pre-Electronic > Electronic > Optoelectronics* > Stacked Photonics**
*Optoelectronics is a hybrid of electronics and photonics.
** Something akin to 40K’s crystal tech – 3D stacked chips.
Nanotechnology and biology
Optoelectronics is incredibly complex and at some point I imagine the manufacturers of such tech to start using nanotechnology to build ever more complex ‘chips’ that are ‘stacked’ – 3D.
The most advanced nanotechnology we know off is biology (humans are a bog flesh bag of nanotech), and once the nanotechnology used to build these chips is interlinked and convoluted enough, it becomes a form of artificial biology, and may included actual biology re-purposed for this new task.
Therefore the next jump from stacked photonics is to use ‘biology’ to build, integrate, and maintain the technology. To describe this technology, in a pragmatic fashion, I fused biology and photonics into ‘bio-photonics‘.
This technology is a true fusion, where bioluminescence ‘powers’ the photonic chip. The ‘gates’ in the chip are within biological cells. However the actual structures that carry the light are ‘dead’ like enamel on our teeth, something like carbon nano-tubes.
Rise of psi-technology
Once biology is introduced that can ‘think’, there is potential to access the warp. The unusual thing about a machine intelligence based on ‘bio-photonics’ is the level of concentration. If placed in a loop, it starts to generate a psi-field. The longer it runs, the more of a field it produces until a maximum level is reached. More power (more ‘threads’, faster processing) creates a bigger field and noticeable local distortion in the laws of physics.
This is how border-space was discovered, and later the warp.
Calculated warp jumps
This ‘biological’ component to computers is also why I imagine the old warp drives from the Rogue Trader era could take a snap shot of the warp. The can ‘see’ it, but they were limited.
Integrating this technology, the biological bit, in humans makes hybrids – navigators. They are more flexible that the machine minds found in warp drives, as humans already have a mind, plus a complex set of latent abilities.
It was easier than ‘reinventing the wheel’.
The difference between this human derived technology and the Eldar is degree. The Eldar are so integrated and bonded with their tech is hard to tell where they start and the technology ends. In effect the Eldar are their own technology.
This is far in advance of what humans/ Ad-Mec can do. It’s a level above. The Eldar can conjure matter from thin air (warp), by transmuting warp energy into Materium energy and then matter. This is a feat of technical ability far beyond what humans are capable.
Going back to the line;
Pre-Electronic > Electronic > Optoelectronics* > Photonics > Bio-Phonics** (psi) > Eldar***
* Nano-tech from now on.
** Biology from now on.
*** In Psyker humans this is messy
Mundane technology inevitably leads to psi-technology. The highest level of technology is a Psyker. The Eldar are very controlled, they are like the ‘old money’ of Psykers, humans are not (new money).
The consolidates the technology line. There are anomalies, like the Jokaero and Orcs, both share common concepts in regards to technology. Jokaero are non-psykers who can build psyker tech that is not in and of itself ‘psionic’. Orks have psyker abilities and can build psyker tech in a similar fashion, but less advanced than the Jokaero. I would put them as a variant in between the Humans and Eldar.
The above is ‘simplified’ as there can be many branches (like Orcs, Jokaero, Nids, Necrons!) but all are coming from this central trunk of the technology line.
Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!
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